Starting P8 and finishing P7 after an eventful Singapore Grand Prix weekend, Max Verstappen understandably said those are not the positions where he wants to be.
Verstappen was on a pair of Q3 laps that were contenders for pole but had to abandon both, the first when Red Bull told him to create a gap to Pierre Gasly ahead, the second when Red Bull’s concerns over fuel meant they ordered Verstappen to abort.
It was a poor launch off the line in the race from Verstappen, who dropped out of the top 10, while a later lock-up and trip down the escape road when challenging Lando Norris proved a further setback after working his way up through the order.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Verstappen explained what had happened at the start and also when he went sailing past Norris, only to not seal the overtake.
“I dropped the clutch at the start,” Verstappen revealed. “So I need to analyse why did it happen?
“But then, of course, you lose a lot of spots. And from there I tried to pass a few people – some work, but then you get stuck in a bit of a train, everyone has their tyres quite up to temperature so it’s really hard to follow.
“Then of course we were a bit lucky at the time, some people had a few mistakes, we were in fifth trying to go for fourth to pass Lando and as soon as I got alongside him, I braked not even late but I bottomed out because I was struggling already a lot there with bottoming and being off-line probably was even more bumpy.
“So as soon as I braked, the front wheels jumped in the air and that was it. I just went straight on. So then had to box again because of the massive vibrations, put new tyres on and come from last back into the points.
“It’s not where we want to be, but I’d already of course, [it] starts from yesterday – you put yourself in a spot like that and it just can either work brilliantly, you can drive back to the front, or it’s just very frustrating like we had.”
Verstappen finished the race P7 after a last-lap pass on Sebastian Vettel, which means his pursuit of a second World Championship rolls on into the Japanese Grand Prix.
But while it is of course better than eighth, Verstappen is ready to move on from an “incredible messy” weekend which did not bring the kind of results he is after.
“I mean, of course better than eighth, but it’s not what I’m here for, not with a car like that and not what we showed in practice. It’s just incredibly messy,” Verstappen concluded.
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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said Verstappen “raced his heart out” but it “just wasn’t his weekend”, believing the events of qualifying had proved to be the “big wound” for Verstappen’s race.
“Yesterday was the big wound for today, obviously hugely frustrating,” said Horner.
“But he’s raced hard, he’s raced his heart out today. He’s come through the field twice and those points are vital for both him and for the Constructors’.
“He gave it everything today. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t his weekend.”